Like anything in this world, a company is no stronger than its weakest link. Whether you run a multi-billion-pound corporation with locations across the globe or a small start-up with little more than a few staff members, the way you treat your staff will largely reflect in the quality of their work and the loyalty that they give you in return.
Now, of course, we all want to think that our company is one that people love to work at – one that makes our staff get out of bed every morning excited for the day ahead; or that our employees are content in the knowledge that we put them first and value them over all other assets. However, the truth is that many companies don’t actually feel that this is the case.
In fact, when 500 global HR leaders were asked whether or not they considered themselves to be a ‘people company’ only 55% of senior executives expressed that they feel they are people orientated. Aside from the fact this leaves a rather high percentage of companies who don’t think of themselves as putting their people first, the other shocking statistic is that only 29% of these senior execs’ employees agreed with them.
You pay your staff to do a job – you’re not a charity, and surely it’s not your responsibility to hold their hand as they navigate the world of work?
If we’re looking at technicalities then that point may be valid, but then you need to consider that the companies who treat their staff like just another link in the chain are more likely to have:
- A higher staff turnover
- Reduced productivity
- A lack of loyalty from employees
- A higher rate of absence
- Poor customer relationships
So why should you care about being a ‘people company’ and what does it even mean?
A ‘people company’ is a forward-thinking organisation that views its employees as its most valuable asset and knows that company success is dependent on the success of the workforce. The leaders of these companies understand that business growth requires them to nurture their staff and demonstrate just how much they are valued. The short of it is that being a people company isn’t simply ‘a nice thing to have’ – it’s vital to success. After all, doesn’t it stand to reason that the more a company respects the contributions of its staff, the harder they will work for it?
How to Show your Staff that they are Valued
Now, there are many ways in which you can show your staff that you value them and all of their hard work, but when it comes to putting them first, we have narrowed what you should be doing down to four very simple points.
Ask your Staff
The first place to start is to ask your employees how they feel about the company; this goes a long way in demonstrating that you actually value their input. You may own or run the business, but if it wasn’t for your staff, you where would you be? With most working adults spending 30% of their lives at the office on average, you’d be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t want to feel that their opinions are valued and respected.
How you go about this is up to you: one-on-one meetings between managers and employees are a way to engage, or maybe you’d prefer to ask staff to complete an anonymous questionnaire. However you decide to implement your listening ear, make sure that you make it clear to your staff that you want to know what they think and aren’t just asking for the sake of it.
Show you Listen
If step one is asking, step two is showing that you listen. Let staff know which ideas you’ve implemented or what changes you’ve made, and give a valid reason if it’s not viable to change something immediately.
Ultimately, the idea is that you prove to your staff that you really consider all the points that they raise with you. Obviously, you can’t make everything they ask for happen and they won’t expect you to; but by taking the time to review their input and share feedback with them, you will instil a sense of gratitude and appreciation in your staff.
Let Staff Know you Pay Attention
Recognising a job well done is crucial in ensuring your people feel valued. Don’t forget that not everyone shouts about their achievements, so make sure you’re acknowledging quieter members of the team too when it’s deserved.
Finding different ways to reward people on the successful completion of a project, or for coming up with a great idea that saves the company money is also important. You’ll have people that relish the thought of a shout out at a company meeting, while others would rather something more discreet such as a heartfelt email from a manager. It’s crucial that you know and understand your staff here, as the last thing you want to do it shout your praise for them from the rooftops only to make them feel embarrassed. That can have an equally negative effect, making them feel less inclined to work hard for your approval.
Don’t Just Stop at your Existing Workforce
While it’s imperative that you show your staff that they are valued, to be a ‘people company’ you need to become known as a ‘people company’. You need to think of potential employees – the top talent you’d like to attract – as you do your clients.
If you think about it, you use marketing to win customers over; so in today’s competitive environment, why wouldn’t you do the same to attract skilled staff? Research has shown that salary is not the only thing that job seekers are interested in. Company culture ranks highly on the list of things that people looking for new employment consider when decided on whether or not to apply for a vacancy or accept a job offer.
Applicants will want to see that your company offers the opportunity to progress within it via internal promotions and training as well as a respectful and comfortable work culture that only really comes from a company that cares.
Once you have all of these things down, the chances are that you’ll notice an impressive increase in staff productivity and, more importantly, overall happiness! You’re a go-getting in business, so go get the best out of your staff by putting them at the top of your list of assets.